George Washington Papers

From George Washington to the Board of War, 10 January 1781

To the Board of War

Head Quarters New Windsor 10 Jany 1781.


We have so constantly experienced the want of Hats, than which no part of dress is more essential to the appearance of a soldier, that I have been endeavouring to find out a substitute for them, which could be procured among ourselves—I have seen none so likely to answer the purpose, and at the same time of so military an air as a leather Cap which was procured in the year 1777 for the 6th Connecticut Regt—I desired the Adjt General to make particular enquiry into the cost of those Caps—and how they had been found to answer—Inclosed is a copy of his report—by which it appears, that if tolerable pains are taken in making, they are infinitely cheaper in the end than Hats.1 Should the Board approve the plan, a few pattern Caps may be made at Middletown and sent to the different manufactories of leather work.

In regard to the representation, inclosed in yours of the 2d Jany, respecting the persons calling themselves swedish Officers, I cannot find myself at liberty to approve of their admittance into our service.2 They must at best be mere adventurers or they would never have come out without some kind of recommendation. As they came furnished with no credentials, I refused to see them when they passed this place—These being the first who have offered their service from Sweden is the very reason why we ought to be guarded, because should Officers of merit come from that Nation hereafter they will be much disgusted at seeing persons, perhaps of infamous3 characters holding Commissions in our Army. I have the honor to be &.

Be pleased to forward the enclosed to Colo. Brodhead by first oppertunity.4

Df, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The board replied to GW on 3 March.

1For the report, see Alexander Scammell to GW, 22 Dec. 1780. The enclosed copy has not been found.

3Tilghman initially penned “scandalous” on the draft but struck out that word and wrote “infamous” above the line.

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